Does Brain Damage Make a Case for Ending Sports?

Dalrymple seems to think so, though I can’t tell if he’s being sarcastic. His experience certainly does make him skeptical of medical trials:

When I was working in Africa I read a paper that proved that intravenous corticosteroids were of no benefit in cerebral malaria. Soon afterwards I had a patient with that foul disease whom I had treated according to the scientific evidence, but who failed to respond, at least as far as his mental condition was concerned – which, after all, was quite important. To save the body without the mind is of doubtful value.

I gave the patient an injection of corticosteroid and he responded as if by miracle. What was I supposed to conclude? That, according to the evidence, it was mere coincidence? This I could not do: and I have retained a healthy (or is it unhealthy?) skepticism of large, controlled trials ever since. For in the large numbers of patients who take part in such trials there may be patients who react idiosyncratically, that is to say, differently from the rest.

3 thoughts on “Does Brain Damage Make a Case for Ending Sports?

  1. Gavin

    Sarcasm, I think! He thinks sport is a waste of time, no doubt, but further thinks people should be free to indulge in their own ill-advised behaviour! The question is whether they ought to have free healthcare for it…

    1. Clinton Post author

      Yes, I think you’re probably right, Gavin.

      As for his attitude toward sports, I like to quote as often as possible (as best I can from memory) his statement that his greatest sporting achievement was “being sent off the rugby pitch – for reading on the field.”

      We’ve probably quoted that five times on this site, but it never gets old.

      1. Jaxon

        He he… Yes that is a little hard to imagine. Surely it was a small book or leaflet that just happened to be in his pocket… I mean it wasn’t War and Peace, right?


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